Thursday, May 31, 2007

There's probably no way this movie is any good...

...but that's absolutely no reason for me not go see it, perhaps even on opening weekend.

Never underestimate the strong desire to really want to like a movie coupled with a bucket of beer served up by the fine waitstaff at the Alamo Drafthouse. Hey, it worked for "Freddie Vs. Jason."

Of course, this just proves that I'm falling for the evil marketing machine's ploy to repackage my childhood memories and sell them back to me.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


The last two weekends have found the noble Holmes clan attending parties for children who are celebrating their first year on Earth outside of a womb, i.e., first birthday parties. I would like to offer this piece of evidence as testimony to the fact that my wife and I now live in a universe populated almost entirely by people who have kids. Oh, and their kids, they're in this universe as well. Obviously. It's a nice place, though there are a lot of minivans.

Speaking of the unrelated, I recently read about all the god-awfully incorrect usages of "i.e." and "e.g." that I've been employing. I apologize for any past cringing I may have caused to anybody, and I promise to do better in the future. So let's tie off that tangent about here and call that topic over and done with.

But yeah, it's definitely funny when you realize that you're the kind of person who has two weekends in a row of baby parties to go to. Thankfully, although the focus was on the wee'uns, the conversation and the beverages were of an adult nature for the most part. I say this because I think I'm finding now that I've been a parent for a while, I get kind of bored when a conversation between parents is only about kids. Sorta like coworkers who only talk about work. So as a reproducer myself, it's always good to be around other reproducers who can talk both about their reproductions as well as other big important topics. Like TV and movies.

Check out the bottom of Henry's shoes after yesterday's party. There were some muddy patches in the backyard of the house we were at, and little guy dove headfirst into the childhood joy that is playing in the mud. Not that he's particularly fastidious the rest of the time, but I think this might have been the first time he desperately needed a bath for reasons other than being covered in food.

Taking a break from the mud, little guy also managed to rattle a couple that was expecting their first child. As such couples can, should, and nearly always do in my experience, they were gushing about all aspects of pregnancy and the acquisition of various baby accouterments etc. etc. blah blah blah, but it was clear that the dad-to-be hadn't spent much time around babies. Hey, that was definitely me before Henry came along. At one point they were sitting on the floor next to us eating, and Biscuit wandered over their direction. Since he's all cute and junk, they greet him with enthusiastic baby-talkish greetings, to which he responds with a very loud and forceful "BITE!" Not a question, but a command. It was clear to all within earshot that he was demanding his fair share of the food on their plate, like a Roman tax-collector demanding Caesar's due. I think the nice people had been expecting cute baby talk, and instead they'd been barked at. Heh, that's my kid, the one making people uncomfortable.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Shark Vendor

It was exceptionally difficult getting Henry down to sleep tonight. It's rarely what you'd call easy, but it hasn't been this hard in a long time. I think we're still kinda reeling. Anyway, here's a little something Henry and I put together. Enjoy.
Hint: Click for larger view.

Friday, May 18, 2007

When that evening sun's setting low

The cosmos must have fallen into some bizarre celestial alignment because Ash was in the mood for Mexican food when she and The GooGoo picked me up from work today. She's never in the mood for Mexican food, so I took advantage and we dropped into a place down the street that we haven't tried yet. We're still having fun learning about all the places that our new-to-us area of town has to offer.

When the waiter took our order, he asked us if we wanted an extra little plate for Henry. Ash said yeah, but then asked if they were breakable, to which the waiter says, "yeah, they're breakable, but so are our hearts, and we still give those out." Maybe some other time I wouldn't have been in the mood to hear such a romantic notion in such an unexpected setting, or had his tone of voice been different I might have rolled my eyes or scowled, but it's one of those cool spring evenings that we get so few of right before summer comes a'raging down o'er our heads, so it made me smile and I tipped him extra, even if I was peeved at the restaurant for making me have to dig through six high chairs before I found one that didn't have a broken buckle.

After dinner and ice cream, we went for a family walk. We even brought the dog along with us to make it an official family trip. We took The GooGoo to the nearby playground to let him burn off some energy. It's been fun to watch him grow gradually more confident with climbing up and down on the playground equipment, though he hasn't quite mastered the concept of the slide. On the way back, we waved hi to one of our neighbors who was standing out on her front porch enjoying the evening. "Now that is a happy family" she said. Yeah, I have to admit, I think we are.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Table manners

Years from now when my son is a bit older, if you ever find yourself sitting down to a meal with him, don't be surprised if you notice him looking over and scanning the contents of your plate. Furthermore, be ye not surprised when he uses his fork to motion to a particular item on your plate and asks through a mouthful of food and with just a hint of hope in his voice if you're gonna eat it. Feel free to say yes, yes I am going to eat it. I'm sure it'll be fine.

Henry's latest word is "bite." As in, gimme a bite. As in, hey I see you got food, howsabout sharing a little with your offspring, eh? As in, bite! bite! bite! bite! bite! bite! until a bite is handed over. Other than "no" it may well be his most used word as of late. Kid likes to eat.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Love is nothing like they say

It's been said about a trillion different ways by a bajillion different people that life is meaningless without love. For my part, I'm finding that even in my most cynical fuck-the-world-and-the-SUV-it-rode-in-on moments, this is a sentiment I still believe in with all the capacity I have to believe in anything. I suppose that in one way or another, I've always believed it, though I probably wouldn't have phrased it as such when I was younger. I think the world would be a better place if there was more love lost between people, not just between lovers and family and friends, but between neighbors and community members, between people passing on the sidewalk, between shoppers in the grocery store, between all the hungover folks waiting for the host to call their names to be seated for breakfast, between vastly disparate groups that history dictates should not get along, and even (or perhaps especially) between strangers. I believe there are means to express loving regard for others in all these relationships. Just as kind words and affectionate behavior are expressions of love between intimates, I believe justice and empathy are just two of the ways that love is expressed in the social sphere of life, even if it is for people you will never lay eyes on or with whom you do not share a common language. In that sense, I suppose you could say that working for justice is a labor of love, as is attempting to understand the circumstances of those who are very different from us in an attempt to get a glimpse of the way the world looks through their eyes. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I believe that it is being on the giving and receiving ends of these expressions that makes life worth living.

There is more to this, but that's all I've got for the moment. Love to you and yours.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

And who am I speaking with?

As a rule, I typically don't write negative posts about people I know because you just never know who's reading, but fuckin' A people, sometimes ya gotta vent, and sometimes ya don't care who's reading. Hell, I might be doing somebody a favor.

Have you ever encountered someone with a really annoying habit that bears a damn close resemblance to a particularly annoying habit of your own, a habit that you're perfectly aware of, but never realized just how very irritating it was until you experienced the horror of being around this other person whilst they engaged in it? And in the midst of the agony of watching, listening, experiencing this person engage in their god-awful habit, you thought to yourself, "Surely I'm not this bad. I couldn't be as awful as this fucking clownfish, could I?" But somewhere deep down, you suspected that perhaps you were, and rather than claw your eyes out, you swore a sacred oath to take that habit of yours and break it over your knee like an insolent bat that refuses to send baseballs a-scurryin' for the bleachers, preferring instead to just swipe at the air, one, two, three, you're out.

Ever have that happen?

Me, I can't say that what I've experienced as of late is quite that bad, but it's close. See, I like movies. And plays. And TV. I like a good solid piece of well-written well-executed stagecraft, whatever medium the stage may actually be. And I have a particular fondness for strongly written dialogue. I don't really care if it sounds "the way people talk." I get enough of that every day. And while cleverness is great, too much cleverness, like too much spice, smacks of trying to cover up a lack of substance with something more easily accessible. No, what really grabs me is when bits of dialogue sound good coming out of an actor's mouth, ring with truth so profound it makes me tingle, and illuminate something deeper and bigger than perhaps they ever were intended to.

Which is a long way of saying that particular lines stick with me long after I've heard them uttered. And I have been known to toss out a line here or there in everyday conversation when it seemed appropriate. No big deal, right?

Except now I've sort of had this mirrored for me. I'm taking a deep breath as I prepare to dive into this. See there's this guy I work with who is an actor. I've never actually seen him in anything so I've no idea if he's any good, but he gets cast, so he can't be all that terrible. But the thing is, he has a penchant for slipping into actor mode at any given moment. One minute you're discussing a work-related question, the next, the guy's in fucking character right there in my cube. It's gotten to where I dread talking to him because I'm never quite sure who I'll be talking to. You know, like chatting with a possessed person. He'll say a line, maybe two, hell, he'll do an entire goddamn monologue. And sometimes, oh sweet Saturn's rings, sometimes he slips into an accent. An accent, people! And not a particularly good one. At least I didn't do accents!

*Catches breath*

Oh my god, I feel better. That was amazingly cathartic. So this was like confession and rant all in one, huh?

Dude, if you're reading this, no hard feelings. Hell, take it as a compliment that I'd rather talk to you than any of the characters you've got bouncing around in your head. And to anyone I've ever annoyed by engaging in this beating-worthy behavior, I apologize.

Monday, May 07, 2007

7 things about me

Julie entaggened me with this meme to list seven random factoidals about without any further ado:

1) One of the earliest things I remember wanting to be when I grew up was a veterinarian. I was so into the idea of being a veterinarian that my mom even arranged for me to be able to come spend the day at our local vet's office a few times, and man, those guys were having a great time up there. For serious. They let me do little stuff here and there like prep exam rooms, sit in on examinations, help hold massive beast dogs while shots were administered. I once pulled a Doogie Howser and walked into an exam room where a lady was waiting with her dog and totally started in with all the usual questions that I'd heard the vets ask. I didn't know the significance of the answers, but I nodded my head seriously all the same. I think they even let me come back after that little stunt.

2) Completely without meaning to, I tend to pick up on the most random lines of dialogue from movies and plays. I get the clever catchy lines too, sure, but for some reason the tiniest little throwaway lines will get stuck in my head. I suppose it could be from having written a few plays and having an appreciation for how much work goes into even the simplest of exchanges. Of course, when I do say something even remotely clever, people usually want to know what movie it was from. They always seem disappointed that it was just me. Maybe I'll start making up answers to that question.

3) I LOVE to tie knots. Not to mention splices and lashings. Gimme a decent length of rope and I am el ocupado for a good while. What this means, of course, is that when there is a demand for a knot to be tied, the expectations are high. You sure as hell don't want to have to tell people about how your Ikea bed that wouldn't fit in the back of your Outback went flying off the roof because your knots sucked. I think they take away your Eagle Scout if that gets out. Oh look, bonus fact: I'm an Eagle Scout.

4) One of my favorite breakfasts in the world is a little something I call the Halitosis Special. It basically involves really spicy breakfast tacos (the 3 Alarm Tacos at Magnolia Cafe are perfect) and piping hot coffee. That jalapeno spice burn coupled with hot coffee, mmm good! Of course, it's mostly decaf these days, but the effect is still there.

5) I won first place in a spelling bee in first grade. I won first place in a science fair in 8th grade. I was going to a Baptist school at the time, but my project didn't have anything to do with creationism vs. evolution, so I think it's still an honest win. It was something about electromagnets.

6) The house I grew up in had mirror tiled ceiling in the bathroom. Kinky, I know. When I was little, I used to look up at the ceiling constantly while I was in the shower to make sure nobody was sneaking up on me, which there never was because I was an only child, but since I was an only child I was left alone to imagine all sorts of things like people sneaking up on me in the shower. I was very thankful to have the mirrored ceiling there as a warning system. Then I learned that vampires didn't cast reflections in mirrors and it was no longer sufficient to just check the mirror, I had to actually look out the curtain.

7) Every time I'm driving down the road and I see somebody dressed up as a corporate mascot dancing around and trying to get people to pull in and try the chicken, eggrolls, Michelins, whatever, I am very disappointed in that person and I want to yell at them to get some self-respect. I know, it's probably some kid, but still.

So there's 7 about me. I'm tagging Jason and Jeff.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Stop and smell the flamingos

This morning, I handed in my final paper for my ethics class, thus bringing to a close my first semester at the seminary. I've been feeling a bit odd about this little milestone all week, so it was only appropriate that when I arrived on campus this morning, I saw that the grounds looked liked this:

Yes my friends, pink lawn flamingos all over the place. A strange sight on any campus, but especially odd upon the grounds of a seminary. Not sure what theological insight these birds have to offer, but I'm sure they're not hurting anything.

But like I said at the start of this post, I've been feeling a bit strange all week about the close of the semester. See, I spent a lot of years trying to figure out something that I wanted to do with myself, and then when that something made itself known to me, it was as if the whole world opened up, and the reality behind reality became visible. Everything, every moment, every action, every person became so rich with meaning, it was overwhelming sometimes. This all probably sounds quite odd, and in truth, it feels very strange to type it, but that's the best I know how to explain it.

But once the semester started, I settled into the business of being family guy/full-time working guy/part-time grad student guy, and just like anything else that you do long enough, it became part of the routine. It's not that I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but the reading, the studying, the writing, the going to class, it was all simply part of the job, and there were times when I just sort of forgot about what it was exactly that I was doing all of this for. The fact is, I'm going to be in school for a number of years to come, so on this very first step of the journey, the destination still seems very far away.

But now at the close of the semester, I can definitively state that the journey has begun, and this first leg is completed. The end is still very far away, but I'm a tiny bit closer than I was a few months ago.

In the meantime, there is the here and now and all the joys that come with it. I had brought Henry along with me to turn in my paper, and he seemed to be as fascinated by the flamingos as I was amused by them.

In the afternoon, we went down to the annual Violet Crown festival, where we ran into quite a few friends, and afterwards we joined in the celebration for our friend Tim's 30th birthday. Here's hoping it's the start of a great summer.

I call this one "Too Much Symbolism"

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Peep this tag, yo

I decided that blogging alone simply wasn't making enough impact on the world at large, so I decided to tag a building with this powerful message:

I set up Henry and Elliott as lookouts in case The Man came along trying to shut me down while I went about my work. You know how The Man is about artistic expression.

Okay, so I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to make spraypaint look like that. In actuality, it's most likely an obsessed fan. I hear it's one of the risks of blogging. I'm not sure what they're trying to say with the subtitle there, does that mean that I'm as good as their Momma? Somebody else's Momma? What does "as good as" mean in this context?

I'm thinking my blog may need a new banner.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Subscriptions what I got

So Mr. Jeff hit me with a tag for this magazine meme that seems to be going around. Before I respond, just a word on memes. I seem to come across a lot of bloggers who answer these things reluctantly, as if they're doing us all a big fucking favor by providing answers to a few simple questions when they could be using their time more valuably by telling us all about the meaning of life, love, and revolution, even taking time to point out prior to their answers just how much they really really hate memes because they think they're just so dumb and myspacey. Man, fuck that. I love these things, for real (thanks Jeff!). I'm all for being handed writing fodder. Tag me up folks, and if'n I like the meme, I won't dodge it.

Of course, management reserves the right to dodge meme tags without explanation.

So the magazine meme basically wants to know what magazines I read. Unfortunately, my answer to this question is rather boring since I don't subscribe to any magazines. Not a one. I subscribe to lots of blogs, to the occasional theory, idea, and even a few schools of thought, but no magazines. I might flip through whatever's available while waiting on a doctor or a barber, but that's about it.

That being said, I can't just leave this thing hanging, so I figured I'll fill you in on all the magazines I've subscribed to in the past. Here ya go:

Time and Newsweek - This was many years ago, and I don't remember enough difference between the two of them to differentiate. I think Newsweek was a gift, but I haven't the slightest idea why Time started arriving at my door, and after a few months they got all pissy and started demanding money. I think I ended up giving them some protection money to leave me alone and unsubscribed as quickly as possible.

Guitar World - I read this thing cover to cover every month. from discussions of gear and technique, interviews with guitarists I idolized, the lessons, I just ate it up. Dimebag Darrell had a monthly lesson titled "Riffer Madness" which I pored over, even if I didn't catch the reference. Every bit of it fascinated me, every month. I had this subscription from the time I started playing guitar in high school until my first or second year of college. As I recall, this rag probably should have been called Six String Testosterone World.

Boys' Life - yep, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. I always liked the segment about the boys who had earned any of the medals for saving a life, and they made me wish I lived in a more dangerous environment so I could earn one too. Keep in mind this was me as a kid in the 80's. I used to think that if anything like what happened on 21 Jump Street would happen at my school, that would be my shot. I was a dumb little kid.

Highlights - Actually, I'm not even sure I was subscribed to Highlights, but it always seemed to be around. I loved Goofus and Gallant. Wasn't it weird how Gallant always won? That's crazy shit.

So here's me tagging you - Tim, Julie, Erin, Tara, The Ash, and Whit. If you got no magazines, do what I did or make some shit up. Or hey, just ignore it.